STATE Parliament is soon to consider changes to the Local Government Act that will determine how the massive Noosa on Weyba development application is assessed. Although a parliamentary committee recommended changes that would see Noosa Council locked out of the process and the assessment entirely in the hands of the Sunshine Coast Council, the Deputy Premier has now promised that both councils will play a role.
Noosa on Weyba straddles the old shire boundaries of Maroochy and Noosa. Thus when the new Noosa Council is created, it will be half in Noosa and half in the Sunshine Coast Council.
A parliamentary committee was set up to consider changes to the Local Government Act in the form of an Amendment Bill to parliament. Those changes will dictate the way forward for the assessment and determination of the development.
The application for Noosa on Weyba has been lodged with the Sunshine Coast Council, but it has yet to enter the public notification and submission phase. That means that any final decision is unlikely to occur before next year – after the de-amalgamation.
Councillor Tony Wellington.
“This development is not to be taken lightly,” Cr Wellington said. “It has a minimum of 876 dwellings spread fairly evenly between the old Maroochy and the new Noosa areas. The development fronts Lake Weyba all of which will be in the new Noosa Shire. And the community of interest is definitely Noosa, so it will impact mostly on Noosa’s roads, schools, shops, public facilities, and will likely take up the remaining capacity of the Cooyar Street sewerage treatment plant.
“In spite of calling the development Noosa on Weyba, the developers have consistently appealed to the State Government to have the development assessed only by the Sunshine Coast Council, and thus to have the upcoming Noosa Council excluded from the process. They made an in-person presentation to the parliamentary committee to that effect.
“The parliamentary committee fell in line behind the developer and recommended that the continuing Sunshine Coast Council alone should assess and decide on the application.
“Subsequently, Deputy Premier Seeney decided that he would not accept the committee’s recommendation that the continuing council be the sole decision maker. Instead he said he would ensure that the Sunshine Coast Council would continue as the decision maker until the new Noosa Council is formed. It could decide whether to remain as decision maker with Noosa Council taking a concurrence agency role after January 1, or vice versa.”
Member for Noosa Glen Elmes had made personal representations to the Deputy Premier, while written urgings had emanated from Councillors Green and Wellington as well as community organisations. A community meeting was hastily called last Monday.
“To consider all the ramifications of this matter, I called a meeting of community organisations on Monday,” Cr Wellington said. “Former Noosa planner Paul Summers also addressed the meeting, as did Cr Green. The outcome was a joint letter to the State Government calling on them to ensure a concurrence agency role for one or other Council.
“We were not asking for Noosa Council to play a role because we wanted the development refused. We were simply pointing out that it is absurd for one council to be making decisions based on the planning scheme of another council, particularly as they have no electoral mandate to do so.
“Thankfully, with the help of Minister Elmes, sanity has prevailed. Both Councils will have a role to play in the determination on the development. The next trick for Cr Green and myself will be negotiating with the current council to determine whether it or Noosa Council becomes the primary assessment manager after January 1,” concluded Cr Wellington.